David A. Garvin, Harvard Business School’s C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration, died at his home in Lexington, Mass., on April 30 after a long battle with cancer. He was 64 years old.
An influential and prolific scholar, during a distinguished career that spanned almost four decades Garvin studied business and management processes; the principles of organizational learning; the design and leadership of large, complex organizations; graduate management education; and case method pedagogy. He authored or co-authored 10 books and 37 articles.
“David Garvin was an extraordinary teacher and gifted scholar who excelled in reaching a wide audience on a broad range of topics,” said Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria. A member of the HBS faculty since 1979, first in what was then known as the Production and Operations Management Unit (now Technology and Operations Management) and then in General Management beginning in 1994, Garvin taught a variety of courses in the School’s M.B.A. and Executive Education programs. He served as faculty chair of the M.B.A. program’s Elective Curriculum from 2006 to 2009.
Promoted from assistant to associate professor in 1984 and then to full professor in 1989, Garvin was named to the Robert and Jane Cizik Professorship in 1991. He became the C. Roland Christensen Professor of Business Administration in 2002.
At Harvard Business School, Garvin developed more than 70 case studies, along with multimedia exercises and technical notes. Nearly a dozen of his cases are among the most popular in the School’s case collection, including Paul Levy, Boeing 767, and Emerging Business Opportunities at IBM. Among his many awards was the Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize in 1998 for the best Sloan Management Review article on planned change and organizational development. He also won two Robert F. Greenhill Awards for outstanding service to Harvard Business School.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the David A. Garvin Wilderness and Environmental Conservation Fund, established by friends and family at Harvard Business School to further its faculty and student involvement in this social responsibility field. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Kerry Cietanno, Harvard Business School, Teele Hall, Soldiers Field, Boston, MA 02163.
To read the full obituary, visit the Business School’s website.